Essential 100 - Weeks 12 & 13

July 18, 2016

Essential 100 - Weeks 12 & 13

Hello New Life,

My family and I are on day 12 of our Southern vacation.  We are currently at Jacque's grandfather's house in Jackson, MS, but we have driven across Louisiana and also spent time in Texas as well over the last week.  I am now enjoying the slower pace as we simply relax for the last few days of our trip.  I slept 10 hours last night, which I do not think I have done since I was a teenager. . .And yes, I know what you're all, I haven't caught any Pokemon here! 

I have been seeking The Lord on your behalf while here.  I have been praying for you.  I have pictured your faces as I've prayed.  It's only a two-week vacation, but Jacque and I love you all and have greatly missed being in fellowship these last two Sundays.  It sounds like things have been amazing between enjoying Scott's guest leadership of the musical worship time, and hearing from our two amazing Pastoral elders.  I am so thankful to them for sharing teaching with you from God while I am away. 

When Jacque and I arrive home on Wednesday night this coming week, we hit the ground running.  On Thursday, Cory, Ashley and Baby Haley Prothero will roll into town and have a visit with New Life for the weekend.

Thursday night, the worship team is meeting for dinner together at 5:30pm, and a rehearsal led by Cory for the weekend service. 

Friday the NLF staff will meet together with Cory & Ashley for lunch and Friday evening, Jacque and I will will spend time with them for dinner. 

Saturday the elder couples will meet with Cory and Ashley for a group discussion of an important book God has led me to share with the elders over the last 6 months.  Someday soon you will read this book as well.

THIS Sunday, ONE WEEK FROM YESTERDAY, Cory and Ashley will spend time with us at NLF leading us in musical worship and joining us for a Church provided meal after service.  It will be a great time to get to know the Protheros.  It's going to be awesome, and I am very excited at what I sense God is doing in us in this season.
As I said, while on vacation I have been seeking The Lord.  I am really excited about what I sense the Holy Spirit is doing in our Church.  I am even more excited after the Essential 100 readings over the last two weeks. 

For the most part, these readings are from the book of Acts.  If you haven't read, or have fallen behind in our readings, I highly recommend reading the Acts passages in the Essential 100.  We are studying Acts as a Church this Fall.  I believe that Jesus Christ has established a Heavenly Kingdom in our earthly realm, and that He is still doing the works we read about in the book of Acts by His Holy Spirit.  I believe He is about seeking and saving the lost through us, His Body, The Church.  I believe that He is ministering through His Body, The Church through our prayers as He heals and convinces people of the truth of His Gospel message.  I believe the Holy Spirit is still inviting us to take faith-filled risks in reliance on God.  I believe in all of it, and I believe that it is all for us today and for New Life Fellowship specifically in the coming days.

I believe that God is calling New Life Fellowship deeper from this moment and time through the Fall & Winter season of NLF.  He is taking us new places by His Holy Spirit. 

These are the things I see consistently throughout the book of Acts.   

THE HOLY SPIRIT specifically offers guidance and direction to God's people.  The Holy Spirit offers specific guidance not found in the Scriptures (though never in disagreement with what they say).

THE PEOPLE who hear from the Holy Spirit and receive this direction from him are people who are fully committed to the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:16-20.  If we want to hear from God and be guided by Him moment by moment, we must be a people who are on mission with Him in the work He desires to do in the world. 

THE POWER of God is available by God's Spirit to God's people especially in regard to sharing the Word of Truth with those who do not yet know Jesus Christ as Savior.

THE COMMITMENT of God's early Church to dependent prayer, fasting and worship is staggering.  The people are constantly seeking God in fervent prayer, fasting, and worship.  As they seek him, as Scripture teaches, they FIND HIM (Matthew 7:7).  The Holy Spirit provides specific direction to God's people who are sold out for God's mission on earth: God's KINGDOM.

So, I ask you, in response to all of this:

1.  Do you hear from God's Holy Spirit?

2.  If you've heard from His Spirit, have you followed His leading?  (This almost always involves taking a faith-filled risk)

3.  Do you see evidence of the Power of God in your life and ministry?  (Again, God's power is most often displayed when we take faith-filled risks)

4.  And the follow-up question on which the first three questions hang: Are you a person who cares about the people who do not yet know Jesus?  These are the people God is ALL ABOUT.  His heart burns for them.  Jesus came for them, and we are sent by Jesus to seek and save them as well by the power of His Holy Spirit. 

I believe that this whole journey of following The Holy Spirit begins with us praying to GET ON MISSION with Jesus whose mission it is to seek and save what is lost; to begin to share the heart of God for those people (Matthew 28:16-20).  This is what I see consistently in the book of Acts.  God's power and God's leading is made fully available to the people who are on mission with God; when we join God in His mission, when we ask Him to guide us by His Spirit in fulfilling it, and when we take faith-filled risks to obey the Spirit's leading.  And it is then that we see the power of God.  We see healing, we receive prophetic insight by The Spirit, we see people added daily to the Body of Christ.  This is what I see in Acts, and this is the pattern I believe is for us as well.

It all starts with sharing God's heart and desire, and to get there, we need to seek him single-mindedly in prayer and fasting.  We must ask Him to move our hearts for what moves His heart.  Only in this place will we see the power and bear the fruit God desires to bear through us.

It all starts with sharing in the family business that our Father has called us to.  We are no longer servants of God, we are friends, because God has made known to us the family business and has invited us into an abiding partnership with Him.  This is where we are going as a Church, and I couldn't be more excited.

John 15:12-17
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.   -Jesus